Massive infra push with an eye on China; Rajnath Singh inaugurates 27 new bridges
Jammu and Kashmir has nine of the 27 bridges, Ladakh has five, Himachal Pradesh has five, Uttarakhand has three, and Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim each have one.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh e-inaugurated 27 Border Road Organization-built infrastructure projects on Tuesday, aimed at improving border connectivity amid rising tensions with China. Jammu and Kashmir has nine of the 27 bridges, Ladakh has five, Himachal Pradesh has five, Uttarakhand has three, and Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim each have one. All of these states, by the way, share a border with China, with whom India has been locked in a border stalemate in eastern Ladakh since May of last year.
On June 15, 2020, the two sides had a fierce clash in the Galwan Valley, in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed, while the Chinese also sustained a large number of fatalities but publicly admitted just four. The two sides had 23 rounds of military discussions and retreated from the Pangong Tso and Gogra Heights regions. According to government sources, the 14th round of Corps Commanders level talks is scheduled to take place in the next weeks.
While dedicating the bridges, Rajnath Singh stated that in today's world, distance is measured in hours rather than kilometres. He said that BRO's roads, tunnels, and bridges had decreased the distance and time required to travel between locations today.
Concerning the standoff with China in the Ladakh region and the BRO's efforts to push border connectivity, he stated, "Without adequate infrastructural development along the borders, we would not have been able to face the challenges in the northern sector, as well as the way we have recently countered our adversary in this sector."
He expressed concern about the current scenario in the border areas, saying that any form of conflict cannot be ruled out. Speaking of the Umling-La pass, the world's highest motorable road, Rajnath stated that the road built at an elevation of 19000 feet on the Umling-La pass in southern Ladakh has now become the world's highest motorable road. This route would not only allow for speedier deployment of armed personnel, but it will also enhance tourism in the region, he said.
He went on to say that the BRO's efforts would not only raise awareness of area culture and tourism, but would also create opportunity for the local populace to improve their socioeconomic status. He also thanked the BRO for erecting the BRO Cafe at 75 spots along the border highways. He stated that the bridges serve an important role in both enhancing security and encouraging economic growth in the respective states through enhanced connectivity
Rajnath inaugurated 63 bridges in six states and two union territories during his visit to Leh in June of this year. Eleven of the 63 bridges are located in Ladakh, with the remaining four in Jammu and Kashmir. Arunachal Pradesh has 29, Himachal Pradesh has three, Uttarakhand has six, and Sikkim has eight. In addition, one bridge in Nagaland and one in Manipur were opened. The cost of constructing these bridges is Rs 240 crore.